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The Incomparable Nina Simone

Published: 2/21/2013
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Born Feb. 21, 1933, 80 years ago today, Nina Simone became a musical legend with her great talent and wide range. Today we remember how very much she was capable of. (Getty Images / Redferns / David Redfern)

Nina Simone had a voice like no other. Her rich, low tenor was rare among women – we usually expect high and light tones from female singers – but Simone made her low range soar. And she was more than a singer: she was also a classically-trained pianist, using both skills in her marvelous recordings.

The superstar of jazz and blues, gospel and folk died April 21, 2003. In tribute to Simone's fantastic range as a performer, we're showcasing the wide variety of music she played.

Jazzy rock – a great piano-driven version of "Ain't Got No… I've Got Life" from the musical Hair.

Soulful ballad – "I Loves You Porgy" from Porgy and Bess was one of Simone's standards.

Blues – The lyrics to "Backlash Blues" were written by poet Langston Hughes, and they spoke to Simone's passion for the Civil Rights Movement.

Classic jazz – Another of Simone's standards was the perky love song "My Baby Just Cares for Me."

Written by Linnea Crowther. Find her on Google+.

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